July 27th, 2013
08:33 AM ET
Why millennials are leaving the church
Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, Special to CNN
(CNN) - At 32, I barely qualify as a millennial.
I wrote my first essay with a pen and paper, but by the time I graduated from college, I owned a cell phone and used Google as a verb.
I still remember the home phone numbers of my old high school friends, but don’t ask me to recite my husband’s without checking my contacts first.
I own mix tapes that include selections from Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but I’ve never planned a trip without Travelocity.
Despite having one foot in Generation X, I tend to identify most strongly with the attitudes and the ethos of the millennial generation, and because of this, I’m often asked to speak to my fellow evangelical leaders about why millennials are leaving the church.
Armed with the latest surveys, along with personal testimonies from friends and readers, I explain how young adults perceive evangelical Christianity to be too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice and hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
I point to research that shows young evangelicals often feel they have to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith, between science and Christianity, between compassion and holiness.
I talk about how the evangelical obsession with sex can make Christian living seem like little more than sticking to a list of rules, and how millennials long for faith communities in which they are safe asking tough questions and wrestling with doubt.
Invariably, after I’ve finished my presentation and opened the floor to questions, a pastor raises his hand and says, “So what you’re saying is we need hipper worship bands. …”
And I proceed to bang my head against the podium.
Time and again, the assumption among Christian leaders, and evangelical leaders in particular, is that the key to drawing twenty-somethings back to church is simply to make a few style updates - edgier music, more casual services, a coffee shop in the fellowship hall, a pastor who wears skinny jeans, an updated Web site that includes online giving.
But here’s the thing: Having been advertised to our whole lives, we millennials have highly sensitive BS meters, and we’re not easily impressed with consumerism or performances.
In fact, I would argue that church-as-performance is just one more thing driving us away from the church, and evangelicalism in particular.
Many of us, myself included, are finding ourselves increasingly drawn to high church traditions - Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, the Episcopal Church, etc. - precisely because the ancient forms of liturgy seem so unpretentious, so unconcerned with being “cool,” and we find that refreshingly authentic.
What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.
We want an end to the culture wars. We want a truce between science and faith. We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against.
We want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers.
We want churches that emphasize an allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation.
We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities.
We want to be challenged to live lives of holiness, not only when it comes to sex, but also when it comes to living simply, caring for the poor and oppressed, pursuing reconciliation, engaging in creation care and becoming peacemakers.
You can’t hand us a latte and then go about business as usual and expect us to stick around. We’re not leaving the church because we don’t find the cool factor there; we’re leaving the church because we don’t find Jesus there.
Like every generation before ours and every generation after, deep down, we long for Jesus.
Now these trends are obviously true not only for millennials but also for many folks from other generations. Whenever I write about this topic, I hear from forty-somethings and grandmothers, Generation Xers and retirees, who send me messages in all caps that read “ME TOO!” So I don’t want to portray the divide as wider than it is.
But I would encourage church leaders eager to win millennials back to sit down and really talk with them about what they’re looking for and what they would like to contribute to a faith community.
Their answers might surprise you.
Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com. The views expressed in this column belong to Rachel Held Evans.
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
Though there be critical ones thinking among the topmost branches of civilizations trees of disparagement offerings: the rooted labyrinths of reasoned deducing ways offers little minded goodness to be availed unto the soulless seekers whose only wisdom is found within travesty's demonic exuberances laying waste towards all graven worded reconciliations that the demonic do behest against many a Holy Believer in God's most righteous beneficiaries as an unholy divider in search of disenfranchised souls to devour and chew upon...
Does not truth come from the readings of the word and knowing of all words understanding meanings..? Where then does truth remain standing if meanings cannot be as devotional understandings..? Do not many people stop thinking becoming themselves as mindless beasts ever to be herded here to there and made to eat this thing and drink of the other thing..?
1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunesa so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Yeah, quoting asinine and meaningless biblical phrases. That's what we GenX'ers want to hear.
I agree with all of this article except for one point. No, we generation Xers and millennials are not "longing for Jesus". We are longing for meaningful spirituality that is inclusive rather than exclusive. That is something that Jesus, even in New Testament teachings, does not provide. And because of that, generation Xers and millennials are leaving the church. But they are also leaving the Christian faith entirely. It's not possible to make biblical teachings line up with the values of our generation unless you basically throw out the entire bible.
I am all for inclusion but you are not going to get the church to subscribe to the idea of "all roads lead to the same place" and if you believe that you will be the big loser in the end
If you say so. But given there is absolutely zero evidence to support the claim that your version of religion is the only correct one? And there's substantial evidence that disproves much of the claims your religion makes? You're taking at least a big of a chance at "being the biggest loser" in the end as anyone else is.
Can you please point to one, just one, instance in the New Testament where Jesus excluded anyone from the Kingdom of God?
The New Testament excluded multiple people, including women (women may not speak in church or have positions of authority over men). Furthermore, Jesus is on record for racism. He once called a Canaanite woman a "dog". Yes, he called a woman a "dog" based on her race.
I should have phrased my last comment better. I didn't mean to say that it "excludes" women from heaven or anything. But it treats women as subordinate to men based on nothing other than gender. That is not a value that most of my generation is willing to accept.
Easy. I am the Way, the only way. Many will cry Lord, Lord, BUT I DO NOT KNOW THEM> Sounds like Jesus was rather exclusive not inclusive. Sorry to shatter your delusions, but Jesus/ the Pre-incarnate also destroyed Sodom and Gomorrow. And when He returns he will lead the judgement of the disbelievers for their eternal destiny into Darkness.
What's your point? That your god is a genocidal murderer? I already know that. I've read the bible just like everyone else. And that is why I want absolutely nothing at all to do with your god.
Moonrise/Unocorn – you obviously didn't read the Acts and Jesus' words and action. Half knowledge is no knowledge; it's a trap.
I'm very familiar with the New Testament actually. And how it discriminates against multiple people. Paul wrote that "women should be silent in church", that "a woman may never have a position of authority over a man", and so on. It sounds like the one here with half-knowledge is you.
It's not possible to make biblical teachings line up with the values of our generation
No one is trying to make Biblical teachings do that
I understand that. But then you better simply get used to the fact that the church and the christian faith is just going to keep losing more and more adherents and becoming less and less relevant as more generation Xers and millennials leave the church, and the children of this generation never join the church in the first place.
You can't turn the word of God into what your personal preferences are. We have to conform to what He says or we are wasting our time.
" We have to conform to what He says or we are wasting our time."
Then I guess you are wasting your time. Because the majority of my generation and the next generation are not going to conform to primitive and discriminatory values that have no basis in any kind of enlightened or reasoned thought.
In other words, we are not going to follow a god that teaches that discrimination against gays is a positive thing, or that women are inferior to men just because of their gender.
Nor are we going to follow a god that is on record in the old testament for ordering his followers to commit genocide on more than one occasion, and for ordering his followers to execute their own children for dishonoring their parents. Clearly, the god of your bible is not an appropriate source for any kind of moral compass.
That was actually my point by the way. You can't whitewash the fact that the values taught in the christian bible are primitive, discriminatory, and barbaric by today's enlightened standards. And because of that, you simply can't make christianity palatable to my generation and the following generations. It's not an appropriate moral guidebook for today's enlightened thinking.
Ultimately, my point is that I disagree with the original author. Because it's simply not possible to make christianity palatable to my generation. At it's core, it's a religion that promotes a set of discriminatory, misogynistic, and other such values that simply have no place in an enlightened society.
I'll just finish by saying that you'd basically have to throw out the entire bible to make christianity palatable to my generation, and most of the generation that follows mine. Cause the primitive and unenlightened values promoted by the bible are just not values we are willing to accept.
I wonder what it is that gives the worst offenders against the faith such a tin ear? Someone says, "we are looking for Jesus and we don't find him in church" and the very people who need to hear that message go on diatribes about people going to hell because they won't accept Jesus (as found in churches which look and sound NOTHING like Jesus).
Jesus said that people will recognize his followers by their love for one another. The assumption wasn't that people needed his followers to explain what love looks like to them – they, being made in the image of Love (ie God) – carry deep within them a knowledge of love is and what it looks like. But rather than having some humility when people say to the church, "I don't see love in you", these clanging gongs want to lecture that the problem is that love doesn't look like something we'd like, be drawn to and take life from. In fact, real love, the church explains, is hard and harsh and nothing at all really like "the world" thinks love looks like. And yet, oddly enough, Jesus seemed to think people would recognize love among his followers all on their own. Of course, Jesus' actual words generally don't hold sway in the sort of churches which are driving people away. In those churches, people prefer to go for what seems right to a man than what Jesus actually said.
I've come to believe that it's pointless to keep begging and pleading with these folks to hear what is being said to them and deal with it. There are none so blind as those who will not see and none so deaf as those who will not hear. Instead, I think that those of us who love Jesus and are willing to be shaped by and wrestle with his teachings and the full implications of them need to embrace our role as the light. After all, Jesus did say people would recognize those who are following him by our love. People are watching and looking for that love. If we are living it out, people will see it and be drawn to it. Right now it seems like the clanging gongs have the upper hand – they are so loud, after all. But the crucifixion looked like death securing victory. Appearances are deceiving in God's Kingdom. The first shall be last, after all.
I recommend that everyone check out the SPIRIT SCIENCE series on youtube. Very interesting stuff touching on many topics which has enlightened many who have come across it.
To any Millenial out there. Most (ex-Christians) are atheists for one or more of the following reasons.
The concept of an immortal being makes no sense to us.
The concept of an all-powerful being makes no sense to us.
The concept of an all-knowing being makes no sense to us.
Throwing the three together into one being effectively cubes its already dispositive implausibility.
We tend to have a good working knowledge of the age, size and history of the Universe. The idea that a being would create the entire thing – with 400,000,000,000 galaxies, EACH with 100, 000,000,000 starts and even more planets, then sit back and wait 13,720,000,000 years for human beings to evolve on one planet so he could “love them” and send his son to Earth to talk to a nomadic group of Jews about sheep and goats in Iron Age Palestine (while ignoring the rest of the 200 million people then alive) makes no sense to us. We can’t help but ask ourselves, “did God make the Jews or did the Jews make God?”
The answers usually proffered for what we see as basic logical flaws in Christianity – “you have been blinded by your lack of faith” “God moves in mysterious ways” “God is outside the Universe” or “our minds are too small to understand the greatness of God” are never satisfying to us. We see a retreat to mysticism as the first refuge of the cornered fool.
The common argument, “well, what caused the Big Bang?” with the implication that, because we have only theories and no iron clad explanation for the Big Bang yet, the Judeo-Christian god must have caused it – does not make sense to us. “I don’t know” does not equal “god” to us, much less the Judeo-Christian god. We feel the answers to such a question are much more likely to be found in Einstein’s equations, quantum physics, large particle accelerators and radio telescopes than in Genesis Chapters 1 through 20. We’re crazy aren’t we?
We do not see miracles in things like tornadoes missing a certain trailer in a trailer park, cancer going into remission or Tim Tebow winning a football game.
We understand that Christianity is one of many, many religions in the World, and we don’t think that we were lucky enough to have been born in the one part of the World that “got it right”. Likewise, we know how all faiths evolve, morph and change over time and do not think we were lucky enough to have been born in the one generation that “got it right.”
We tend to have a basic knowledge of history and know that there is nothing magical or special about the supposed history of the Jews, gospels, letters, apocalyptic story (Revelations) and other materials that found their way into the Bible, in that they are largely indistinguishable from the other mythology and religious writings of the Greco-Roman Mediterranean.
Human beings are terrified of their own deaths and we see the various religious beliefs that try to “wish it away,” such as reincarnation, living happily ever after in Heaven with Jesus, having your own Mormon planet etc. as nothing more than childish stories for the more näive, timid minds among us.
We do not see morality as predicated upon a belief in the supernatural. We accept that one can be moral without believing in the supernatural and that doing so is no guaranty that one will conform to the norms of society that people call “morality”.
“You can’t prove God doesn’t exist” is not a convincing argument to us, or even a relevant point, because an inability to disprove something is a far cry from it being true. We cannot prove that the Hindu gods Shiva or Vishnu do not exist either, nor Santa Claus for that matter, but that is hardly a reason to believe in them. It is not even evidence for their existence. It is impossible to prove a negative in this context.
When one looks at the various Christian beliefs that were once firmly believed – Adam and Eve, Noah’s flood, people living to be 700 or 900 years old, the Red Sea splitting, water turning into wine, a talking snake, a man living in a whale’s belly, people rising from the dead, Jesus driving demons out of people and into pigs – but which are now acknowledged by most thinking people to be mere mythology, it is pretty hard to give a lot of credibility to what’s left.
It is hard not to consider Christianity as based on circular reasoning. Most Christians believe in God because the Bible says so, then turn around and say they believe the Bible because it is the word of God. To draw an analogy, “I believe Mao Zedong was a great man because The Little Red Book says so, and the reason I believe The Little Red Book is that it was written by Mao Zedong, who was a great man.” Do you even have the slightest idea of how your Bible was compiled over the centuries or who decided what to include and what to exclude and on what grounds? Can you even name one of hundred plus authors who contributed to it? One of the many people who decided what got in and what didn’t?
To be bluntly honest, the more one comes to understand mother nature, the less reason there is to believe in a god and the more one understands human nature, the more one sees why so many of us still do.
So, before some priest, minister, rabbi or iman next claims to you that they know the secrets to life, death, the origins of life on Earth and the origins of the Universe, simply because their parents or church taught them some comforting stories from Greco-Roman Palestine as a child, you might like to reflect upon the overwhelming enormity of the claims they make and the complete paucity of evidence that underwrites those claims.
No, you DO NOT have to dumb yourself down. Be as skeptical as such claims as you would be of any others.
In a proper balance, science gives explanations–religion gives meanings.
It may well be that religion–as usually practiced–is not for everyone. Many people are deeply moved by a photograph or other piece of art; the beauty of a poem; or a piece of music by Mozart.
Many people are moved by the symbolic, by the beauty of the myth–and myths are sometimes startlingly accurate windows on reality.
Many are not moved by music and art. And that's ok, too.
Perhaps it's time for everyone to call a truce–I won't criticize you for not having tears in your eyes at the end of a Mahler symphony. Please don't consider it a personal defect if I do.
Maybe it's time to apply this common courtesy to a discussion of religion.
You said, "In a proper balance, science gives explanations–religion gives meanings."
Religion doesn't give meaning, it assigns it. It does so without the tiniest bit of support in evidence. It makes outrageous claims about purpose, where there very likely is none.
You said, "Perhaps it's time for everyone to call a truce–I won't criticize you for not having tears in your eyes at the end of a Mahler symphony. Please don't consider it a personal defect if I do."
You seem to imply that science is out to destroy religion. It isn't. If science destroys religion it is a side effect of the search for truth. If religion can't stand up to the scrutiny of science, it isn't true.
That doesn't mean that you are not allowed to believe as you see fit. You are free to believe whatever nonsense you want, but if you use it to lay claim to an area in which you compete with science, you shouldn't be surprised by refutation. If you don't want your beliefs destroyed by science, don't hold beliefs that are incompatible with it.
I realize that people find emotional benefits in religion. I have no problem with that. The problem arises when people claim that religion is someone on even footing with science when it comes to explaining the universe. It isn't. Not by a long shot. So as long as you refrain from making outrageous claims, I will refrain from calling bullshit on them.
So I pretty much agree with you, but let me just say that you're quite verbose. Sometimes less is more...
I'm sure that Colin can do great 140-character Tweets and sound bites and bumper stickers too. Sometimes more flesh is needed on the bare bones - and here is as good a place as any to be able to do that.
"The idea that a being would create the entire thing – with 400,000,000,000 galaxies, EACH with 100, 000,000,000 starts and even more planets, then sit back and wait 13,720,000,000 years for human beings to evolve on one planet so he could “love them” and send his son to Earth to talk to a nomadic group of Jews about sheep and goats in Iron Age Palestine (while ignoring the rest of the 200 million people then alive) makes no sense to us"
But what does make sense is that, given all of the above that he has to think about, one of his most important preoccupations is how we use our private parts.
It's all about fruit.
God wants what is optimum, so he gave rules meant to optimize and yeild the best fruit. That's why Jesus said divorce wasn't meant to be. If someone is always looking for someone else, they won't stick around long enough to be a parent and help their kids, or even have kids. Women leaving God are doing themeselves a horrible disservice, because what God said, helps them quite a bit more than they'd get otherwise without him. That and by playing the field, they often end up alone, or may end up killing their own kids within themselves... kids that end up in heaven, as angels, with names... named by either God or the angels.
Optimum rules for life from God... yeilds a lot of fruit for God.
Heard all these fallow arguments before but that being said, Christopher Hitchens would have been proud of your post...
This guy pretty much nailed it.
Wow–perfectly put. Perfectly!
"Be as skeptical as such claims as you would be of any others." I would assume that this would include the claims you made in your article as well. We all know that our scientific knowledge of the world never changes. And I'm so glad that, like you, I was born in 21st century- the enlightened generation...;-) You have a 'god'- it's name is scientific rationalism. You are fiercely loyal to 'him'. You love to see 'him' exalted. You delight in studying 'his' ways. And, obviously by your post, you are skilled at proselytizing for 'him'. But like all other religious people- you are ultimately unfaithful to 'him'. You sin. How? because you give meaning to your life and the lives of those around you. If we are here by coincidence, then our lives only have self-constructed meaning, which is to say that they have the same true meaning as a fairy tale. All our religions have "tough pills to swallow." (mine included) Yours just happens to be that your life is worthless and when you die a few people will remember you, and then they will die, and you will be no more. So, eat drink and be merry- for tomorrow we die! Or maybe Jesus did rise from the dead...
To the extent I make a claim, of course it should be subject to scrutiny. Pick one and we can discuss it.
I wonder who is the "cornered fool" here...? So, the "theory" of Big Bang couldn't was not "proven" yet to be of God's doing? What do you say then about the "theory of evolution" becoming the"Evolution", without a scientific proof? It is convenient for your "superior" brain to accept what you want to be the truth. You don't really need any proof; you are superior (to King Kong?)
The idea that a being would create the entire thing – with 400,000,000,000 galaxies
All the more reason to believe there is a supreme being. To believe it just happened spontaneously is what's ridiculous
1. No atheist believes it "all happened spontaneously."
2. And I bet your God just made it spontaneously in your belief. Ridiculous
I hope it's because the age of reason has finally blossomed. After thousands of years, not a single religious tenet has been proven yet hundreds of millions continue to reach for "flowers out of air"
With the growth of knowledge to explain previous mysteries of the physical world, religion is no longer needed to explain life's mysteries. And with the growth of the internet, religion's role as an agent of social connectedness also is reduced. Thus religion now only serves to help people cope with or explain life’s suffering or fears, and to give their lives meaning. But as people become more sophisticated and realize that religion is nothing more than a fable repeated so often it is perceived to be "truth", (now what was it that Goebbels said?) it will finally experience it's well deserved demise.
it sounds like you don't have a reason to have God left out, it sounds like you are expunging HIm. Is this the very essence of your desire?
I don't understand "Expunging HiM"???? Removing him, washing him out. "HE" wasn't there in the first place, except in the imagination of believers. 2000 year old fables repeated generation after generation, do not a reality make!
"with the growth of the internet, religion's role as an agent of social connectedness also is reduced."
You made me laugh – how pea brained and small minded one can be? If that's not short-sighted, I don't know what is!
Prayer changes things,
I like the synchronicity. I always keep track of a couple of real Christians in case we need to change the matrix.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:
11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
12 And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the Lord.
That is exactly what I mean, repeating fables so often that their truthfulness seems undeniable.
For the believers, "factualness" is unnecessary since they have fallen victim to the phenomenon that they themselves promote, a supposition becomes perceived as truth if repeated often enough. The truth for believers is “self-evident” simply because it has been repeated so often.
Until you escape your prison of cultural propaganda, the logic of atheism will escape you. Either that or your life is such that you need to look somewhere to cope with your life's suffering or fears, or to give your life meaning.
Ha-ha-haaa, John...don't let go of that group! There is hope for you!
And your source for this bit of wisdom is???
What is unhealthy is pandering to the egocentric needs for ego centric satisfaction. Once people realize that ego and awareness are not the same thing, they will start to wake up.
Compassion, kindness, harmony are not the result of religious beliefs but rather the realization that there is a reality beyond one's ego. And THAT is healthy for children and all living things.
Yes it does change things, but not in the way you suggest. When someone offers to "pray" for me at a difficult time. I accept it in the manner that it's given. It's indeed kind and to me is simply another way of saying "my wish for you is that things go well". However replacing that wish with a measurable physical action is always more appreciated. That's why I love secular charities so much- they offer much needed help without any of the supernatural strings attached.
because history has shown that the safest place for young children is in the hands of a pastor...
Religion is for the weak minded.
Religion is for those who fear death.
To anyone who is not religious and claims not to fear death: there's something wrong with you. Humans have evolved to fear death. It's built into our psyche. That fear is what has allowed us to survive as a species. You're kidding yourself if you claim you don't fear death, and one day I think you will discover that for yourself.
Why? Death isn't something anyone particularly looks forward to. I'd say most atheists are extra mindful of it considering they don't think they have anything after that point. There's no point in fearing death, you may as well fear oxygen for all the good it does you. What's more important is to be mindful of life and do the best we can while we're here so we can die without regrets.
Does that statemen make you feel better, you of the "superior" mind!?
Reblogged this on The World Outside of Yourself.
"Having been advertised to our whole lives, we millennials have highly sensitive BS meters." Says the author. She then goes on to describe in some detail how she longs for a "relationship with Jesus" and a closeness with God.
Might I respectfully suggest she turn her "highly sensitive BS meter" back on when she looks at her own religion. If she is prepared to do so with a bit of emotional and intellectual courage, she will pretty soon realize how utterly ridiculous belief in a god is in the 21st Century.
The Logos is a matter of scientific fact in the 21st century. Einstein made that point quite clear, as the atheists forced him to hide relativity and replace it with the mathematical contrivance of a photon; in order to collect a Nobel Prize.
Come on man, please research facts before stating them. Here, let me fill you in. Here are some Einstein quotes on religion. In point of fact, Einstein was a complete atheist. I know he admired Spinoza and brandied the word “god” around as a metaphor for the numinous, but he certainly did not believe in the notions of life after death or a god that in any way worried itself with human beings. Indeed, he referred to this as “the god of the naïve man.”
"The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this."
By the way, whether this gifted man believed or not is quite beside the point of whether there is a god, but I get frustrated when people wrongly attribute a belief in [always their] god to him. Here are some more quotes.
"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."
"I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature."
"It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere.... Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."
"I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own – a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body
Einstein claimed to see Jesus in the universe, in the Word sense of the spell of creation. There is a name for this creator in ohysics, but it does not refer to any form of theist. To claim that science has any proof of there being no creator is nonsense. Atheists at Wiki even refuse to publish a correct definition of relativity, to keep you a fool.
Einstein used the word "god" as a metaphor, but wrote explicitly about his atheism.
Lap, Einstein used the Word, Jesus in the Logos spell of creation sense. My Jesus is the spell of creation who holds all power in my universe, while the jesus in the Western Christian church in Peter, the poor illiterate man.
Belief in a "god" has always been ridiculous. A "god" is an idol, a proper relationship with God however is to be greatly desired.
The jesus they sell at church is crappy.
667 alter calls, new borns at my church though. It depends where you go , I go to 3 different churchs. I see nothing wrong with devotional rigor.
church leadership may be suspect, and i don't think i am doing God a favor by going to church, I see a bunch of people who's desire is to be loyal in devotion. and one of my church's has worship music that is a joy to me to sing priases to God, and see the new people come in and go to connect groups and for relationships and friens with people who life up the bible as God's word, and at another church we have a "teacher" who clearly and absolutely has a beautiful spiritual gift for teaching.
what are these gifts for? who care if they become a rent paying and tax paying organization ? the authentic holy spirit can reach a person...............even at the wrong church. the individual is what matters.
you are both correct as well.
21st century!? WOW? Really? Is that something special? You of the small mind, don't you know that it is only a small bleep on the eternal timeline!? Nothingspecial, only big in your small world.
I'm the same age as the author. For my entire life, the most vocal Christian denominations have been very political. The church's most visible stance is its anti-gay politics. Simply put, if you don't support those political beliefs, you won't go to church. I don't support them, so I don't go. I am not a Christian and I am not an atheist. I simply have no religious opinion and I'm not looking to form one, either.
The cross burners and the hippies inside the church must have gays be Sodomite, because otherwise the truth that cross burners in Genesis are the Sodomites. Klansman Collier had a son named Ed and he became head of our southern California SBC. The priests of Ba'al were gay and if you show me a gay klaven leader who burns babies he is evil.
I have absolutely no idea what any of that means.
In Genesis the original conflict for Abraham is with the Sodomites of Sodom. After Sodom is destroyed the worshipers of Ba'al bun crosses to sanctify the lad and are told, "your god is a burned up stick." Later Elijah has conflict with the same cross burners in the Northern Kingdom and has 400 of them killed. The Ku Klux Klan came to control our southern baptist conference some decades ago and spread much hate against gays.
John dont' forget, Antiochus Epiphenes put a pig roast in the temple, and set up a gymnasium next to the temple, forbidding jews to honor the sabbath and he cut their hair off.
No matter what perfume you spray on that rotting corpse, no matter how much whipped cream you put on the feces sandwhich, no matter "indie" you make the praise band on Sunday, the decline of religion is inevitable. God continues to exist only in the cracks of our ignorance and though there's a lot of room left in those dark places, surely the light we continue to shine will inspire people to take off their self-imposed, supernatural yokes.
"The cracks of our ignorance".... lovely..
The author of this article claims to want a return to traditional old-time religions, even mentioning Catholicism a couple of times. But, here's the thing: a day or two ago the pope decried the modern-day worship of idols like money and personal success. Then, he walks up to and worships – you guessed it – a wooden idol of some hometown saint in Brazil, and he even cries while he's praying to it. Do these people realize how clownish they look? That, dear author, is why intelligent people are leaving the churches in droves.
That's because you don't understand what the Pope was really doing.
He decries materialism. He embraces those things that remind us of the holy, such as this particular shrine. He's actually living up to the message he is sending: avoid the material. Embrace the holy.
RE: " young evangelicals often feel they have to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith, between science and Christianity.."
That is because YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE. The two are MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.
Relativity and Quantum Mechanics require a sentient being outside the universe to make the universe real. The global geological fossil record proves that species occur rapidly following a mass extinction, the opposite of evolution. Atheists however have no ethics and are fine being the new flat earth society.
Is that the new Literalist Interpretation cologne you're wearing John? Carbon dating and other records are all conveniently dismissed by virtue of the fact that Pastor Bob can show us kids how a fossil can be created virtually overnight at Mount St. Helens!
Carbon dating is accurate to about 16,000 years. Pastor Bob is making a living off the congregation and by definition is not a Christian.
Without Christianity there would be no science.
All our modern technology is based in Creationist science.
There was science long before there was Christianity and there was science in places where there was no Christianity. If you ever read any history you would know that Christianity fought fiercely against science In the West science happened despite Christianity. In fact much of what people think of as western science actually began elsewhere and in time migrated to Europe.
Angela-I know since 1919 the atheists have fought against science. Even today the atheist kooks at Wiki have a fake definition of Relativity up. When Einstein presented relativity to the Nobel Committee it was rejected by atheists and he had to make up a fake particle to collect.
People like you are why people like me find religion so repugnant.
God created an orderly world and science is a discovery of that order. In some way we will find that our scientific findings and the bible will ultimately reconcile. We need more Christians to embrace science to explore God's world, not avoid it and deny it. I hate it when Christians try to go up against scientists without evidence and end up looking like fools. We need to engage the world, not avoid it, not mock it.
The problem is that so many Christians embrace non scientific theory. They can't come up with a cogent argument because it flies in the face of things like a 6000 year old earth, their insistence that every creature was created unchanging in their current form and they insistence on pretending things like people riding dinosaurs. In addition most of the political Christians have hitched their wagon to a specific political party that prides itself on scientific ignorance. They have doctors of medicine because they have studied science they try to present them as physicists geologists or zoologists. They try to argue that things like the Biblical flood of Noah did cover the entire earth.
The problem is, if you take the Bible Literally as a fact it doesn't hold up but if you take it more as an allegory it also loses.
To Spiritual Is Not Physical
Other than the "training" in childhood, the culture of your family or community, the momentum of acceptance of convention, WHAT EXACTLY is the basis of your belief system?
Why do you believe in "spirituality" when you've never seen it outside your imagination. Why does everything you do, (I would hope) from brushing your heath, to the food you eat, the relationships you have, the money you spend and save, and so on, have a basis in reason YET, you let all your reason go to hang on to something called "spiritual". And why do you believe in god yet don't believe (I suspect) in the easter bunny. What proof of god do you have that is lacking in the easter bunny, OUTSIDE your imagination?
These are legitimate questions, I'm not being sarcastic.
The two are not mutually exclusive. To say as much is but the mirror image of fundamentalist Christianity.
No Andrew – evangelical Christianity (with its literal interpretation of most of the bible) IS INCOMPATABLE with science. The world was not created in a few thousand years. Languages did not start at a tower. The biosphere of an entire planet did not fit on a wooden boat. Adam and Eve did not exist. I could go on an on, but your statement makes no sense. If you meant to say non-evangelical Christianity (which interprets the bible allegorically) then and only then can you make that statement. I do not stand corrected – you do have to make a choice. It is science and logic – or evangelical Christianity. The two are in fact CLEARLY INCOMPATIBLE.
I disagree with JFKman and agree with Monica. It's all about Him, not us. The God of the Bible the one and only true God who created this earth and us is a jealous God and deserves to be worshipped. The World will be judged one day and all those who haven't put thier faith in God will be thrown into the lake of fire forever. Ih great scripture. One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that I Jesus am Lord, for some it will be to late. We just have to pray that the Holy Spirit moves in hearts. I'm thankful for my church that loves all but preaches the Word and hates sin.
You and your SICK christian beliefs are what is wrong with the world.
Darwin's sick ideas are what is wrong with the world.
Don't understand evolution, I see. Oh, well.
I see, Darwin's discovery of evolution by natural selection which is completely proven in the science of biology and bolstered by genetics and DNA evidence and which is the very basis of all modern biology and medicine should be thrown on the dung heap for a talking snake mythology and the completely unprovable idea that your god had to come to earth and have himself killed as a human sacrifice to himself so he could be appeased. LOL Thank the internet that many are leaving your train of thinking and climbing on board with reality. Sorry your magic man in the sky has no power of those of us who have rid ourselves of such delusional fantasy thinking that belongs back in ancient mythology where people had no other choice in explaining what they could not understand.
Yup that nasty old science gets in the way of believing in witches and demons. Your problem is science is proven every day, including evolution. Yup evolution is still happening. IF a physical trait endangers an organism's survival the trait dies out over time. If an organism has a trait which enhances survival it over time becomes dominant. It happens every day. Christians in denying that fact which can be observed make as much sense as the church's insistence on the crystalline sphere theory of the Universe, a theory in defense which Christians killed other people. I might point out that Darwin didn't even come up with the idea, he published a book on something the Ancient Chinese and medieval Islamic scientists knew as well as every farmer who has bred animals for specific characteristics.
There is no such thing as 'too late' with God – shame on you for being a spiritual idiot!! People like you are the reason I gave up religion and have church on my back porch, just me and HIM.
I agree. I don't know if there is a God (I hope there is!) but I do know that there is a clockwork universe out there that follows a beautiful logic in its adherence to physical laws. I don't really need to envision a paradise that I can't see because I already have one that I can see, but I can appreciate the need for others to have this belief. What bothers me is the intolerance of the "believers" with my inability to simply take their system simply on faith. If they really believe that is simply enough to have faith, then if they were honest then they would have to admit that any faith system would have just as much validity as their own. However, this is never the case – accepting a belief system on faith is only valid if it is their belief system! Religion today has become less and less about love and devotion, about helping others, than about gaining money and control over other peoples' lives. If this is what it means to be religious, then count me out. I'll believe instead in Einstein, Maxwell, Hawking, and Newton.
Salvation here and now, not after I am dead.
Newton was an evangelical.
No,r standard C of E who didn't believe in the trinity.
The reason we Christians take our God in Faith is because God is a Spiritual Being. Therefore, that which is spiritual and non-corporeal cannot possibly be measured by empirical evidence or means. You have free will to believe as you will but our belief in God will most certainly continue based upon the fact that we do not self-create neither do all of the other things like the wind, the sun, the oceans, etc. without God having brought them about. Again, one cannot measure the spiritual through physical, normal means or attempt to explain it without deep inner faith and belief in their heart.
Newton is renowned for his work in physics and mathematics, not his supernatural beliefs. And while his Laws of Motion can be effectively used even today to launch satelites they are still at best rough approximations. Einstein's Relativity exposed the flaws and led to more accurate calculations of motion.
The biggest problem for religion is that we are in the information age and religion no longer has compelling answers to life's deepest questions. If you have a problem do not ask you priest — GOOGLE IT
As long as you don't get your science from the atheist kooks at Wiki that is mostly fine.
'Cuz if it's on the Internet, it's just gotta be true. That's some really bold, independent thinking you're showing us there, bub.
The internet is providing young people with unprecedented access to knowledge and alternative views. The chances of a church that offers no proof, or even evidence, of their sky-fairies, surviving are pretty low.
Hopefully, within a generation, only the stupid, uneducated and others who lack the mental wherewithall to get above their beliefs will remain in a church.
The internet is a resource where we can learn the bible well enough to know our pastor is a liar. That is the true killer of organized religion.
Whenever I hear the anti-Christian spew the "only the stupid..." I think of Descartes, Newton, Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, St Paul, Michelangelo, Durer...all extremely brilliant persons and all extremely devout Christians. Typically when a person launches such an absurd attack it generally reveals more about themselves then it does about their target.
If you don't wish to believe then don't. It's as simple as that. It will all be resolved when you are dead anyway.
Michelangelo had big time problems with the RCC. He was also gay. Those two problems made it *very* hard to be the evangelical you profess him to be.
Don't get me wrong. He was a believer. Just not in the light you portray him to be. He was very conflicted in his faith.
St. Paul? Really? He did more to dilute Jesus's message than any other single person in early Christianity. It should be called Paulianity, for all of the baggage he inserted along with the dogma. He never even met Christ when he was alive, remember.
The only way to become educated at that time was through the church, as they controlled what was taught as well as what was published. You had to be a believer or you weren't allowed an education.
I notice that when Christians put up lists of scientists who also happen to be believers, they invariably leave out Galileo and Copernicus.
In discussing biblical Christianity, it is important to distinguish between the body of Christ (church) and the building/assembly (church) on the corner. The body of Christ (church) is a global and historical group of spiritually-regenerated Christians inextricably linked by the Spirit of God. These cannot leave the eternal spiritual inheritance/fellowship of Christ. The local building/assembly (church) is a mix of Christians and adherents linked by geography and religious beliefs and practices. These can leave the local assembly by choosing to no longer participate.